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AN OLD FAMILY.

(BY J. H. WATSON.)

By the death, at Brisbane, last week of the Honourable Albert Norton, Queensland has lost an early politician, and New South Wales a scion of one of her oldest families. The Nor- tons have entered largely into the public life of the eastern States, and the family history, without intruding into private details, forms very interesting reading.

James Norton, of Hurstpierpont, in the county of Sussex, England, was bom in the middle of the eighteenth century, and resided at Northend (one of the family estates). He had one son and three daughters. The son, John Norton, of Leatherhead, was horn 1772, and in 1714 married Miss Mary Masters Brad-   ford, and by her had a family of ten children.

The third son, James Norton, was born July 27, 1795, near Hastings, Sussex, and would be 23 years of age when the family came to Australia, in 1810. At this time the country on the Hawkesbury and the Nepean Avere the principal lands suitable for agricultural pur- poses, and that, in the neighbourhood of Pen- rith, much sought after. The Cox family was represented at Mulgoa by William Cox and his sons, George, Henry, and Edward. Sir John Jamison had a large estate; Lieutenant Hobby, of the New South Wales Corps, had a grant hero of 640 acres; Mr. Edward Luttrell, a surgeon, who came to the colony In 1802, had, by instructions from Lord Hobart, 1000 acres for himself and family; and many others were similarly treated. And so we find on the map of the parish of Mulgoa three distinct grants, made on the 6th April, 1821, to the NortonB. John Norton, the father, had Govers, 800   acres; Nathaniel Norton, Fairlight, 800; and James Norton, Northend, 50 acres. These three properties are now all owned by Mr. A. G. Witts, who resides at Fairlight, which is most charmingly situated, being the highest land in the district, commanding views as far as Camden to the south, Windsor to the north, and the suburbs of Sydney to the east.

This property Mr. John Norton and his family worked tor some years, till the father moved to a larger estate in the Kanimbla Valley, leaving Nathaniel, the aid naval of- ficer, as he was termed, to look after these grants. The old cottage the family lived in still stands, but a succession ot occupiers made many changes, and a newer residence is close to the old one. A great deal of the land which then was vineyard and orchard has gone back to forest, and amongst the tall gums can be seen tho remains of old pears, and evidences of terraced ground on the mountain sides. Tho old sailor found life dull at his lonely home, and In 1841 he took to himself a wife. Biography gives the lady's name as Barker, but the parish register has it as Ellen Barber, and as it is clear and distinct, in her own handwriting, it may be accepted as correct. In 1846 the Admiralty recognised the existence of Mr. Nathaniel Norton, and he was promoted to the rank of commander. The Rev. J. S. Hassall, who went to school at the Mulgoa rectory, says "About two miles from the school lived Mr. Nat. Norton, brother to Mr. James Norton, senior, solicitor, of Sydney, and uncle to the Oxleys. He was an old naval -nan, a good hearted sailor, whom the boys were fond of visiting. " This would be written about 1837 Nathaniel did not have a long married   life, for he died August 17, 1851, and his wife followed him, October 10, 1852, and they both lie in the quiet churchyard of St Thomas', at Mulgoa. The grave is sunken, and burrowed through in all directions.

James, the third son of John Norton, was trained for the law, and was one of the ablest solicitors in Sydney in the 'Thirties and 'Forties, and in the 'Fifties his practice was carried on under the name and control of Norton, Son, and Barker, as one of the legal

firms of standing.

On January 10, 1824, James Norton married Jane, a daughter of Mr. Alexander Kenneth Mackenzie, a gentleman who occupied the po- sition of secretary and cashier to the Bank of New South Wales, and of the old Scottish family of the Mackenzies of Gairloch, famous both in history and literature. Into this family also married Henry Cox, of Glenmore, Mulgoa, and Rev. J. Troughton, a Church of England clergyman, who was drowned whilst crossing the Cox River, near Hartley, in

1860.

James Norton occupied a prominent posi- tion in public life, being a member of the Legislative Council, and registrar of the dio- cese. His first wife having died in 1840, he married three years later a daughter of Mr.   John Backhouse, of Ipswich, England, who died in 1879. By his first wife he had six sons and two daughters, and by his second three sons and two daughters. Of these, the best known in public life were James and Albert, the oldest and youngest by his first wife.

The above James Norton, known as James Norton, of Elswick, so named after a large es-

tate, which is now covered by the municipal

ity of Leichhardt, being occupied as his re-

sidence and grounds for many years, died August 31, 1802. His son, James Norton, of Ec- clesbourne, Double-Bay, who is better known, especially to the older people of the present day, xv as a worthy successor, both profes- sionally and socially, to his fathor, was head of the legal firm of Norton, Smith, and Co.,   and, like his fathor, was also a member of the Legislative Council, and occupied a seat on the boards of control of many public in- stitutions. He was born in 1824, and married In 1854 a daughter of Thomas Walker, of Rhodes, Parramatta River, who was Deputy Assistant Commissary-General of New South Wales. Mr. Norton died in I860, leaving one son and three daughters.

Mr. Norton married secondly a daughter of Rev. William Stephens, of England, two chil- dren being born, one son and one daughter. Mr. Norton, among his many public positions, oc-   cupied that of Postmaster-General in the Stuart Ministry. His death took place in July, 1906.

The gentleman whose name was introduced at the copimoncRnient of this article, tho Hon. Albert Norton, was the younger brother of James Norton, of Ecclesbourne, and xvas born at Elswick, January 1, JS8G, and, after being educated by Reverend Frederick Wil- kinson, at The Meads, Enfield, took up a country life, and travelled over New South Wales till he went to Queensland In I860, where he purchased a station in the Port Curtis district. He was appointed to the Legis- lative Council In 1807. Represented the dis- trict In the Assembly from 1878 to 1893- was Minister for Works 1883, and Speaker from 1888 to 1893. He also, like his father and brother, filled many important positions in public life. He contributed largely to the press on a variety of subjects, his favourite studies being horticulture and natural his-

tory.

Mr. Albert Norton was thrice married, his first wife being a daughter of Abraham Wal- ker, of Tasmania, and a niece of Thomas Wal- ker, of Rhodes. He married secondly Miss Harriet Doeacon, and had one son. His third wife was a daughter of Dr. Fred. Barton, of Brisbane. No Norton occupies a position in the public life of the States now, but in social and private life the family is numerous, both here and in England.

Digitisation generously supported by
Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation
Digitisation generously supported by

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